Listening to: Wild As Angels (The Levellers)
Weather: gloomy end to a fine day
After leaving my old job and before moving to Orkney I attended a bricklaying course at the local tech college.
Great fun it was too and, though I say so myself, I got pretty good at laying the nice little clay bricks with the perfectly-mixed mortar provided by the college, made up of four parts builder's sand and one part cement. I had a go at cinder blocks and managed fine with those as well.
I've finally got around to doing some building and the whole thing is a very different kettle of fish. Everything here is built with exceptionally heavy concrete blocks - an experience long on good, healthy exercise, but short on finesse and neatness.
I'm building Molly's maternity pen and it's slow-going. I've done my best with trowel and spirit level, but more than once I've actually had to resort to kicking a block into place.
On top of that, the sand here is straight from the beach and full of salt, so reacts differently to builder's sand. If you mix it and leave it for a few minutes, it starts to separate, the salt pushing the water out so you spend most of the time cutting the mix with the trowel.
So, I'm here with biceps twanging and hands rapidly shrivelling, in desperate need of a massage and a long hot bath, but Sal's in Kirkwall and I forgot to put the water on - and it's just started raining.